In Illinois, during the 2014-2015 school year, there were over 340,644 suspensions, expulsions, and transfers to alternative schools in lieu of other disciplinary measures. Black students represented approximately 45% of the students impacted by these practices,even though black students constituted only 17.5% of the student population.
Here in Illinois, we have taken two critical steps toward combating this reality:
Public Act 98-1102[i] increases accountability of school districts by requiring the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to compile and publically release data regarding each school district’s rates of suspensions, expulsions, and transfers to alternative schools. This data should be disaggregated by subgroups (e.g., race/ethnicity, gender, age, grade level, limited English proficiency, incident type and duration). ISBE will monitor those districts with grossly high and inequitable discipline numbers.
[i] P.A. 98-1102, (effective Aug. 26, 2014), was first introduced in the Illinois Senate as SB 2793.
Public Act 99-0456,[i] which goes into effect on September 15, 2016, requires substantive changes to school discipline practices and policies, including the elimination of any broad-based use of zero tolerance policies. In addition to other requirements, schools must make substantial efforts to consider “appropriate and available” alternatives to exclusionary discipline, ensuring that suspension, expulsion, and school transfers are a measure of last resort.
[i] P.A. 99-0456, (effective Sept. 15, 2016), was first introduced in the Illinois Senate as SB 100.